Communications Designer: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a communications designer, a job closely related to that of graphic designers. Learn about the requirements, duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Communications Designer?

Communication designers primarily create visual messages for clients. These professionals utilize computer programs to artistically design products for businesses or companies. These creations could be used on websites or print materials. Communication designers could collaborate with web designers or animators to aid in the delivery of those original designs.

Communications designers may have varying roles, including graphic designer or creative director. More information about this career can be found in the table below.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Graphic design, communication, multimedia, marketing
Key Responsibilities Applied creativity and design techniques, layout, research
Job Growth (2014-24) 1% (graphic designers)*
Median Salary (2015) $46,900 (graphic designers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Career Possibilities for a Communications Designer?

Your employment options as a communications designer range from working with marketing companies to government agencies; job titles in the communications designer category include graphic artist, merchandiser, creative director and website designer. You may work in industries including media, public relations, communications, education and business.

Projects you may work on include designing a website for a merchandiser, creating advertising for a small business, putting together a layout for a magazine cover or developing a video game. Most jobs you do will require creativity, knowledge of design techniques and technical skills along with familiarity with multimedia.

What Education Do I Need?

A bachelor's degree in communications design or graphic design is most often required by employers. To teach communication design in a college or university, a master's degree will probably be required. In a communication design program, topics covered may include 3-D design, art history, Flash programming, digital media and website design. Courses may include typography, computer applications and graphic design.

Employers may prefer candidates who have experience working with multimedia technology, understand communication design terminology, know the basic principles of marketing and have a developed professional portfolio. In creating a portfolio, you need to have a range of projects that showcase your best work. The portfolio needs to show the diversity of your work and range of your abilities. To build a portfolio, you may use projects completed while you were in school, work done through an internship or projects completed through a design competition.

How Much Can I Earn?

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report salary figures for communications designers, the BLS category for graphic designers - a comparable field - shows that they earned an median salary of $46,900 in May 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Multimedia art and animation is a related career field that also requires a bachelor's degree. Multimedia artists and animators use software programs to develop and design video games, feature films or web pages. Another related career field is that of an art director, which also requires a bachelor's degree. These directors utilize creative techniques to build designs for print media outlets or film and television. Another alternative career would be in industrial design. These professionals use their art skills to design a variety of products such as appliances, toys, or automobiles. It's helpful in this position to understand design, business and engineering.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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